I’ve mentioned in past posts that we are pretty busy with therapy for BC. To sum it up, he attends an Early Intervention program one day a week, therapeutic horseback riding once a week, extra speech therapy once a fortnight, swimming (as often as we can) and regular osteopathy, chiropractor, point percussion and feldenkrais appointments. Phew.
BUT it’s all worth it. There’s not a single thing we do that we don’t see benefits from. AND I’d like to make very clear, there’s not a single thing we do that he doesn’t enjoy. We wouldn’t do the therapy if he didn’t like it, regardless of any potential benefits.
Because we’re so busy, I made a decision that during school holiday periods when there’s no early intervention and horseriding, that we would do NO therapy, NO appointments, NOTHING.
So what do we do? We hang out. Some days the boys sit around in their pyjamas until lunchtime watching ABC Kids on TV while I either get stuff done or catch up on emails, with friends on the phone or (as often happens) sit with them and enjoy the fun of Macca Pacca, Upsy Daisy, B1 and B2, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Caillou, Postman Pat, Justine Clarke and Rhys Muldoon on Play School etc etc. It’s fun. Even more so now that BC loves to give me a running commentary on everything that’s happening. I can’t get enough of hearing him speak. Every little word is a mini miracle to me. The Little Bean meanwhile, just wants to dance. So he dances at any sign of a song. Otherwise he’s loving driving our little Postman Pat van all around the loungeroom.
In case you’re getting ready to report me as an unfit parent, of course it’s not all about sitting in front of the TV. Even for hardened TV viewers like my kids, a few hours of TV at a time is definitely more than enough. We’ve been doing lots of playing as well – puzzles naturally, playdough, painting, building blocks etc.
Out of the house, we’ve spent some of the time visiting friends and favourite places (we love the Museum!). BUT MOST OF ALL we spend time at our local park.
We are very lucky to have a very big park near our house complete with wide open spaces for playing ball and flying kites, a duck pond (huge favourite with animal loving Little Bean) and TWO playgrounds to choose from.
I love both these playgrounds and I love taking my boys there. I love it even more these days now that they can play together – sit on opposite ends of the see saw, swing side by side, take it in turns to drive the ‘car’. It’s so calming to watch them play together.
And I’ve realised, visits to the park are akin to even the very best of the physical therapy for a little guy like BC.
A year ago, I would hold him from behind as he ‘climbed’ up the rope ladder to the top of the slide. NOW he can do this virtually on his own. I am still behind him, just in case, but he has mastered the skills for the most part. He just can’t right himself if he loses his balance. But he’s working on it. And as for going down the slide, the months and months he worked on bringing his feet out in front of his body so he could go down the slide has FINALLY paid off and he can now do this on his own.
6 months ago, he needed to sit in the half shell swing, now he can sit, unassisted in the ‘big kid’ swing. We don’t go too high up (despite his demands!) but considering he doesn’t have the balance to stand unassisted for more than 10 seconds, I find it amazing that he can stay seated while in a swing in motion.
There are more things I could share, but I think you get the idea. The park is just a great place for him to be.
There’s still a lot more to ‘master’ in the playground. There’s the flying fox he wants to be able to do on his own. There’s the regular ladder that he wants to do on his own. And I still carry in my heart the possibility that one day he’ll be able to walk around the park on his own, rather than with his walking frame, getting bits of tan bark stuck against the wheels and stopping him from moving forward.
There’s also dealing with other kids in the playground. I see that kids fall into a few different groups. There are some that try to help him (even when he’s not looking for help!), those that get frustrated by his slow movements (especially those waiting turns at the top of the slide) and then those that are fascinated by his walker and slow movements almost to the to point where they are more interested in watching him than playing. It’s interesting.
BC copes pretty well with most of these variables, but I just can’t wait for the day that there’s none of these variables and he’s just seen as another kid in the park.
I could go on to talk about accessibility in parks and playgrounds for the disabled, but that would be another WHOLE LONG post.
And I don’t have time for that right now, because it’s nearly the end of the school holidays and we’re off to the park .